Spike and the unconscious Drusilla drove out of Sunnydale like bats out of hell. *Oh, Dru,* he thought, steering the fixed up DeSoto onto the Highway. *Why are you such a pain?*
Buffy watched as her friends walked into school. *Willow looks pretty good,* she thought. *So does Xander and Giles. They'll be just fine.* With a sigh, Buffy picked up her bag and walked away.
The bus station in Sunnydale wasn't the most glamorous place in the world. In fact, it was down-right awful. Buffy walked up to the counter to get a ticket. The man behind the desk was fat, bald and had a gold tooth, which flashed as he leered at her.
"So, pretty girl, where are you headed?"
"LA. One-way please," Buffy replied, trying not to shudder in disgust. *I can fight vampires, mummies and all sorts of baddies, but when it comes to men like him - major wiggins.*
Buffy paid the man and hurried away from the counter. She took a seat off to one side and looked out the window. *Good-bye, Sunnydale. Can't say that it's been fun.* Buffy sighed, stood up and proceeded to her bus which had just pulled into the station.
The bus ride to LA was rather uneventful. Buffy spent most of the time sleeping due to the exhaustion from the past weeks events. She checked into a YWCA and took a roach infested shower before collapsing on the stained bed into a fitful sleep.
That night, she dreamed of Angel.
Buffy awoke the next morning feeling very suicidal. She had let her friends get hurt. She had almost killed Giles and Willow. She had killed Kendra. She had killed Jenny. All because she could not kill Angelus. Granted, in the end, she stuck a rather large sword into him to close the gates of hell, but still, it was too little, too late.
Buffy got out of bed, threw some clothes on and went to find something to eat.
Spike parked the car for the day in an underground parking lot in LA. Drusilla was still unconscious. *Come on now, I didn't hurt her that much,* he thought before climbing in the back seat. He tried to get comfortable, wishing for a bed.
That day, he dreamed of Angel.
Spike awoke that evening with the weird feeling that he was being watched. He looked up to see Drusilla peering down at him from over the seat, an evil smile on her face.
"Wake-y, wake-y, Spike," she said in that voice that was really starting to annoy him. "Time for me to kill you."
Spike just laughed. "Listen, Pet, the reason I had to knock you out was because…"
Drusilla interrupted him. "Now, Spike, I don't want any explanations. You killed my Angel. And for that, you must die."
She lunged over the car seat at Spike, striking with her nails. Spike shoved her up towards the ceiling, trying to maneuver himself into a sitting position. He managed to get Drusilla halfway over the front seat again before he was able to collect himself. He quickly got out of the car. Drusilla was right behind him.
"You killed my Angel!" Drusilla screamed as she lunged for Spike.
"Dru, please, calm yourself down. I didn't kill Angel! The Slayer did!" Spike told her, fending her off.
"She would not have been able to do that *if* you didn't tell her where we were!"
Spike frowned suddenly. *How did she know?*
"Oh, you bad boy. You can't keep secrets from me. I knew it when she showed up and you stopped me from helping my Angel," Drusilla sneered.
Spike did not like the look in her eyes at all.
"Listen, Pet, why don't we just stop, ok?"
"Why, Spike? Are you afraid of me?" Drusilla said, a predator's gleam in her eyes.
*Actually,* Spike thought. *I think I might be.*
Spike looked around for some sort of weapon. Nothing. Wait. There. In the car. He reached into the front seat and pulled out a doll.
"Stay back, Dru, or Miss Edith gets it," Spike said, preparing to shred the doll.
"Nooooo! Not Miss Edith!" Drusilla cried. "Please don't hurt Miss Edith!"
"Dru, I am going to leave now. I don't ever want to see you again, do you hear?" Spike said, getting into the car while still holding onto the doll.
"But Spike…" Drusilla began.
"Never again!" Spike yelled as he started the motor. He tossed the doll onto the ground and drove out of the parking garage.
Drusilla picked up Miss Edith and dusted her off. "Poor Miss Edith. Did Spike hurt you? He will have to pay for that, won't he luv? And for what he did to my Angel." Drusilla smiled.
Buffy's day was rather uneventful. She ate breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, lunch at Starbucks and had Chinese take-out for dinner. *I'm going to have to stop eating like this,* she thought heading back to her room. *I am going to get fat. Oh, god, I'm starting to sound like Cordelia.* Buffy smiled sadly at the thought. *Cordelia wasn't that bad. In fact, she was rather good for Xander. They had the same outlook on life - never back down and give them your worst. I miss them.*
Buffy decided that night that she shouldn't let her slaying abilities go to waste. After all, this was LA.
Months passed as Buffy stayed in LA. She no longer slept at night, instead spending her time either on patrol or working as a waitress in the near by bar. She did not think of Angel that often anymore, allowing the wounds in her heart to heal. That night she wrote a letter to Giles.
First of all, I am ok. I am working as a waitress and living at the Y. I go out patrolling every night. I haven't made any friends yet, but then, I don't really need them. I still have you and the gang in Sunnydale.
Being a slayer in LA is vastly different than being a slayer in Sunnydale. First of all, there are less vampires around. The tend to hang out in gothic dance clubs and get their victims there. I have a plan to burn down a club where vampires sleep during the day. Oh, joy.
I hope my mother came to you with any questions she had about my being the Slayer. If you see her, tell her that I miss her, will you?
Well, enough about me. How are you doing? How is Willow? Is she out of the wheelchair yet? How about Cordelia and Xander, are they still together? And is Oz still with Willow? Well, you can fill me in on all the dirt by writing to me at the PO Box listed below.
Well, I'm off to slay some vampires. Take care of yourself, Giles. I miss you.
Giles reread the letter in his hand for the third time, wiping the tears from his eyes. *Buffy,* he thought. *You're alive.* Giles took a deep breath and released it slowly. *We thought for sure you had died.*
He pulled out a piece of paper and immediately wrote a return letter.
It is good to hear from you. We have all been worried.
To answer your questions first, you mother has been by to ask me all about what the Slayer is and does. I have tried to put her mind a little at ease by letting her know how trained you are, but that does not seem to make much of a difference. She feels that you are too important to go and risk your life. I agree with her in that regards. You are a very important and special woman.
Willow is up and walking around. She and Oz are a steady couple, now. She admitted to me the other day that she was in love with him. She also told me that although she still loved Xander, it was in a different way now. Oz shall be attending Sunnydale Community College next fall to study music and philosophy. What a strange combination that makes! But, he will be close to Willow, and to them, that is important.
Xander's arm healed nicely. He and Cordelia are still together and are even worse than before… Well, the "dirt," as you call it, on those two is that since that night they have been inseparable. They still fight with each other. Loudly. But there is a tenderness that I envy. Xander surprised us all one day by yelling out that he loved Cordelia in the middle of the cafeteria. Cordelia, being Cordelia, couldn't be out done, so she yelled out that she loved him, as well, and then added "even if he does dress in clothes bought at Goodwill."
I am doing just fine here in the library. Sunnydale has calmed down somewhat since you left. There are still vampires hanging around the Hellmouth, of course, but we go out as a group, armed to the teeth, as Xander says, and take care of them. I have been teaching them all self-defense and they have caught on quite rapidly. Especially Cordelia. When she is not complaining, that is.
We all miss you, Buffy. We wish you would come home.
Buffy wiped the tears from her eyes as she read Giles' letter. She had laughed out loud for the first time in months reading the letter. She thought of Willow and Oz, Xander and Cordelia and their love for one another. *I'm glad they all found each other,* she thought.
She put the letter in the same place she kept other momentos. The ring Angel gave to her was there, along with the cross. Also there was pressed flower from Jenny Carpenter's grave, Kendra's knife and a picture of Giles looking stuffy as always.
Buffy sighed and stood up. *Work to do. No time for sad feelings.* She grabbed her slaying equipment, as well as the gasoline can, and headed out the door.
The evening was upon Buffy as she left the club. She had spent the better part of the day pouring gasoline all around the inside of the building in an effort to kill all the vampires that slept in the basement. She also had put holy symbols on all the exits in as a mean spirited gesture. Buffy light the match and dropped it into the gasoline and sprinted out the door.
The fire took no time in growing to an inferno. Buffy saw no one exit the building as she hung back in the shadows, watching, stake ready for any escapees. She heard fire trucks in the distance, their sirens growing louder as they approached. By the time they arrived, the whole building was consumed in flames. The widows had broken from the pressure, black smoke billowing from them. Buffy watched as the fire fighters attempted to put out the blaze.
At that moment, the wind picked up, spreading the flames to the neighboring buildings. Buffy watched in horror as what was to be simply vampire destruction turn into mass destruction. While she was standing there, a police officer walked up to her. Startled, Buffy turned and ran before thinking.
"Hey!" the officer shouted, sprinting after her. "Stop! Police!"
Buffy did not listen as she turned the corner of the alley. She was so intent on evading the officer following her that she did not notice the figure walking her way. She ran smack into his chest. The figure grabbed her shoulders to them from both toppling over. Buffy looked up.
"Spike!" Buffy exclaimed, trying to get out of his grasp.
"Buffy! What are you doing here? I thought we had an agreement? I show you where Angel was, you'd let me leave and wouldn't follow," Spike replied, his face turning into its vampire form.
"Spike, I don't have to time to fight with you right now! The police are after me! Let go!" She jerked herself out of Spike's arms, pushed past him and continued to run down the street. Undaunted, Spike ran after her.
As the two figures ran, they were both unaware of the observer.
Buffy did not stop until she was several miles away from the club. She collapsed onto the bus bench to catch her breath. Spike, out of breath as well, although he didn't really breathe, collapsed next to her.
"What," Buffy said in between heavy breaths. "Do you want?"
"Listen, luv, I just want to know why you are here. Did you follow me?" Spike replied, regaining his equilibrium.
"No, I did not follow you! Did you follow me?"
"No, I've been here for several months now," Spike said, leaning back on the bench.
Buffy, wary of a trap, asked, "Where's Drusilla?"
An expression of pain and disgust flashed in his features, to Buffy's surprise. "She's gone. I haven't seen her in awhile. Not to say that I'm sorry."
"Oh. Well," Buffy replied not knowing what else to say. "I'm sorry." She knew that Spike had cared for Drusilla in his own way.
"There's nothing to be sorry about. Actually, she was becoming rather annoying. ‘Angel, this and Angel, that.' It was enough to make me want to become human again."
Buffy laughed. After a few moments of sitting in silence, Buffy stood up. "Well, Spike, I can't say that it has been nice seeing you, but I must be heading to work."
Spike stood as well, looking awkward. He could not tell if he was feeling remorse at the fact that she had to leave. *Strange,* he thought. "Good-bye, Buffy. The feeling is mutual."
They stood there looking at each other, as if undecided about what to do next.
"Listen," Spike began. "Do you want to get together later and chat. Catch up on old times?" Spike couldn't believe the words that came out of his mouth.
Buffy couldn't believe it either. "Well…umm…ok, if you really want to, I mean."
"What time do you get off work?"
"Well, why don't I meet you at the 24-hour Starbucks."
"Ok," Buffy replied and turned to go, unsure of what to make of the situation. "See ya."
"Yes, see you later," Spike replied, a weird feeling of bereft overtaking him as she left. *I really need to take a vacation,* he thought as he headed back into the night.
Starbucks was crowded, even at two in the morning. The bars had just closed and people wanted to get some coffee into them before heading home. Spike watched to door from the table where he was seated, a cup of coffee in front of him.
Buffy entered the coffee shop and spotted Spike. She headed over to him and sat down. "Since when have your tastes changed? Or did Starbucks come out with a Blood-flavored coffee recently?"
Spike grinned. "No. This is for you. I figured I get it. For you. That is…," Spike trailed off.
"Well, thank you! That was really sweet," Buffy said, a second later she made a funny face. "Wait a sec, did I just say that Spike was sweet? Ugh! Maybe I shouldn't be drinking coffee this late at night."
Spike laughed at her. "I do have my moments. After all, being alive as long as I have does tend to cultivate one's manners."
They sat in silence for a few minutes, absorbing the atmosphere of the coffee shop.
"So, Spike, what's up? I mean, here I am sitting and drinking coffee with you when I should be slaying you," Buffy asked taking a sip. "Mmm. Good coffee."
"Oh, I don't know Buffy. Things have been kind of strange since Drusilla and I parted ways. I haven't been alone for several hundred years," Spike replied, looking at the foam mustache on Buffy's face. "Um, Buffy?"
"You have a coffee mustache."
Buffy blushed, wiping her mouth with her sleeve. Spike grinned. "Could I be any more embarrassed?" Buffy said.
"Well, I could have not told you. Then people would have stared at you and made fun of you behind your back."
"So true, Spike. Thanks."
Spike didn't know what had gotten into him. First he asks Buffy practically on a date. Then he buys her coffee. Then he goes out of his way to make sure she isn't embarrassed. He shook his head and sighed. *Things have really gone down hill, haven't they.*
"So, Spike. What have you been doing while you've been in LA? Anything that I need to take revenge on you for?" Buffy asked, taking another sip of coffee, being careful not to get another mustache.
"Actually, I have only ‘eaten' my fill, rather than killing for the fun of it. Mostly transients, so know one would report them missing. For some reason, killing humans is becoming rather dull."
*Wow,* Buffy thought, looking at him. *He really is acting strange.*
The continued to have a light conversation, neither of them noticing the time, until it was almost sunrise. They talked back and forth about everything from the pollution to demonic activities to what was on the television.
"Wow, Spike," Buffy said several coffees later, noticing the time. "The sun is going to be up rather shortly. Much as I would like to keep you here, I think it's time to go."
Spike stood up, not believing how fast time went by. He escorted Buffy to the YWCA and up to her room. They paused at the door, Buffy on one side of the threshold, Spike on the other because he could not enter her room unless invited.
Spike cleared his throat. "Well, Buffy. It has been a surprisingly enjoyable evening, but I really must run now."
"Yeah, I know," Buffy said, unsure of what to do. Suddenly she blurted out "Do you want to do this again tomorrow…er…tonight…er I mean at two a.m. again?" *I can't believe I just did that!*
*I can't believe she just asked me that!* Spike thought, stunned. He smiled. "Sure Buffy. I'll meet you there again. The coffee will be waiting."
Buffy smiled and said goodnight and closed the door. Spike paused, looking at the door, then turned and hurried out of the building back to his home before the sun rose.
Buffy and Spike continued to meet every night after Buffy got off from work. They talked about everything. Buffy learned first hand about different people and places in history. She was fascinated by all that Spike had seen. Spike learned about her childhood, when she realized that she was the Slayer, about the different creatures other than vampires she fought, and about her various friendships in the past.
Neither of them ever brought up Angel.
One evening, several months later, Buffy asked Spike about what it was like to feed.
"Well, it is…hmmm… how do I explain. Ok. Let's say you, as a human, cut your finger. Normally, you'd stick your finger in your mouth and the blood would just taste like copper. But you would still just be tasting the blood. When I feed, the human's ‘essence' is transferred through the blood. It is really difficult to explain," Spike told her.
"What's this ‘essence?'" Buffy asked, curious.
"I would say that is was a human's collective experiences through life, their feelings. As you know, our feelings are different than human's. Now, as an older vampire, I feel love and hate, jealousy and envy just as humans do. And I can control myself. Younger vampires lack these feelings and control, which is why there aren't many old vampires anymore. I know of several who live up in Toronto, and a few more here and there, who have managed to avoid the Slayer by keeping a relatively low profile, but most of the younger ones are killed."
"I have another question for you," Buffy began. "Can you feed on someone and *not* kill them? Do you have that control?"
Spike answered immediately. "Yes. We do not have to drain our victims completely. In fact, there is a principle known as ‘renewable resources' among the older vampires. That is to say, when humans were far and few between, vampires would drink just a little of their blood over a long period of time, allowing the humans to live with no long lasting effect, other than needing bandage now and again."
"Why don't you do that?"
"Well, right now there are billions of humans. A few here and there won't be missed," Spike replied honestly.
"But you could use this ‘renewable resource' principle if you wished and not kill anyone?"
Buffy thought about that for a few moments. She took a deep breath and than asked Spike to do something completely against his normal self. She asked him to stop killing people.
Spike shook his head and laughed at her. "Stop killing people. That's a good one, Buffy." He continued to laugh as Buffy just sat and looked at him seriously.
"Please?" She asked quietly.
Spike looked at her. *What the hell,* he thought. Then an idea came to him. "I'll do it on one condition, Buffy. That condition is that you would become my ‘renewable resource.'"
Buffy's eyes grew wide. Spike thought he had her now. She would never agree to let him drink her blood.
"Alright," Buffy said.
Now it was Spike's eyes that grew wide. "Really? You mean, you would actually do that?"
"It would be worth it to save lives."
Spike thought about her commitment to saving those pathetic humans. He kind of admired her for that. In fact, he felt some sort of pride that he was associated with someone who would risk their life for others, pitiful as they may be.
Buffy and Spike both decided that it would be easier for them both if they lived together. Spike had rented two bedroom apartment and, with little effort, moved Buffy in. There was not much of a change in either of their schedules. Buffy continued to work as a waitress and went out patrolling at night. Spike entertained himself by going to various shows, reading and taking in the night life of LA. There were only two major differences. First, Buffy decided to work out by physically fighting Spike every other night. Secondly, Buffy acted as Spike's ‘renewable resource' by drawing blood from her veins and filling glasses to be re-heated in the microwave. She did not want Spike drinking directly from the source. And since she was the Slayer, Spike did not need as much blood as he normally would.
Time flew by for the both of them. Buffy continued to write Giles at least once a month, but she did not bring up the fact that she was living with Spike. She read to Spike the letters she received in reply, who found them quite funny. He sometimes helped her write the letters in response, wanting to know more about what had transpired in a particular situation. In fact, from an outsider's point of view, Spike and Buffy acted like friends.
Buffy and Spike were sparring with each other on during one of their workouts. Both actually relished in the fact that they did not have to hold back, especially Buffy, who was used to using Giles as a punching bag.
Smack. Whap. "Omph."
Spike knocked Buffy onto the floor. It had been close to an hour, now, since they started to work out. They were both getting tired.
"Listen, Pet, why don't we knock it off for today," Spike said, jumping over Buffy's legs to avoid being taken down.
Buffy grabbed the quarterstaff that had been knocked from her hands. "I told you before, Spike," Buffy said as she hit him over the head. "DON'T" Smack. "CALL." Buffy jabbed the staff into his midsection. "ME" Crack. "PET!!" Buffy yelled as she swung the staff as if it were a bat, sending Spike across the room. This was a normal conversation between the two of them. Buffy despised being called ‘Pet.'
"Ok, Ok. Sorry, luv," Spike said as he prepared for defense. "What should I call you then?"
"How bout ‘Buffy'?"
"No." Duck. "That's what everyone else calls you. I want uniqueness." Jump. Elbow.
"But ‘Pet' is what you called her." Smack. Kick. Grunt.
"Ok, then how about Muffin? Pumpkin? Poonchkin? Angel?"
With that last suggestion Buffy stopped fighting and looked at Spike with hurt and fury on her face. Spike, just realizing what he said, apologized quickly and backed away.
"I'm sorry, Buffy. I didn't mean…" Wham. Buffy sent a roundhouse kick to his face, causing him to twist into the air and land heavily on the floor. She jumped on top of him, punching him over and over in the face.
"Ow! That's hurts! Take it easy, why don't you! How about ‘luv' instead?" Smash. "Or Princess?" Crack. "Or Tiger?"
Spike cracked his eyes open to look at Buffy, who had stopped mid swing.
"Hmmm. Tiger. I think I like that." Buffy stood up, bringing Spike with her. She started to brush off his clothing. "Tiger is fine with me."
Spike smiled at her, relieved that his little slip hadn't killed him.
"How ‘bout getting something to eat?" Buffy asked, heading towards the kitchen, exhausted.
"I could go for a little Chinese," Spike replied giving Buffy an evil grin.
Buffy laughed, knowing that Spike was not referring to Peking Duck.
Spike watched Buffy as she took a glass of blood out of the fridge and popped it into the microwave. Spike took a seat at the kitchen table before looking at her again. She took a bottle of water and began to drink it. Spike sat there, liking the way her perspiration had given her skin a shine, her crop top plastered to her.
The microwave dinged and Buffy took the glass out and put it on the table in front of Spike. She looked at him and noticed that he was shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "What's wrong? Did I hurt you?" She asked, grinning evilly.
"Nothing is wrong, Tiger," Spike said and picked up the glass and drank quickly, causing him to choke. Buffy moved closer and rubbed his back. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah." Cough, cough. "It went down the wrong pipe." Spike turned his head towards Buffy who was leaning over him and got a close up view of what he'd noticed before. He groaned.
"No, you are not alright," Buffy said in concern. "Can I do anything?"
Spike looked up into her face. He snaked his left arm around her waist and pulled her into his lap.
"Spike!" Buffy shrieked. But he shut her up with a kiss.
*Oh, this feels so good,* Buffy thought, enjoying the kiss. She wiggled to get closer and heard another groan deep in Spike's throat. Then she noticed she was sitting on something rather hard. She smiled into the kiss, acknowledging her power, and wiggled for a different reason.
"Tiger," Spike whispered, breaking off the kiss. "Do you realize what you are doing to me?"
Buffy grinned. She leaned over and whispered into Spike's ear. "Do I ever."
Spike was the first one to slowly come back to awareness. He removed his fangs from Buffy's neck, noticing that he had stopped drinking after climaxing. He felt her heart pounding beneath his chest, her breathing still rapid. He slowly pulled away from her, looking down at her flushed face. Spike brushed an errant hair away from it and then leaned down and tenderly kissed her on the mouth. He stood up, bringing Buffy to a sitting position on the table.
Buffy opened her eyes slowly. She had never felt anything that powerful before. It was as if she could feel his excitement and pleasure along with her own because of his bite. She looked at Spike standing there before her. There was an awkward silence.
"Buffy, I'm sorry," Spike said quietly before leaving the room. Buffy heard his bedroom door close.